Visual information displays for decision task support: Alternative methods for choice framing & risk perception in relationship maintenance decisions

by Morrison, Deidra, Ph.D., NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, 2009, 82 pages; 3386450


The factors influencing decision making in situations of relationship maintenance, are still quite unclear to theorists that investigate choice. Traditional decision theory informs us of the ways in which choice framing can affect change in the options that are chosen. Social psychology research has posited there are relational schemas used to govern interactions between people in a relationship and the issues in overcoming the inherent tendency to engage in interactions with relationship partners in a routine and repetitive manner, regardless of each member's stated satisfaction with the relationship. The intent of this research was to study how the use of abstract visual representation would affect a person's relationship maintenance decision practices and the perception of the health and satisfaction that they have with individual relationships within their network. Through the reduction of textual and qualitative data display and increased ability for pattern detection that is provided by information visualization techniques, we hope to provide the ability to frame choice more appropriately and improve the adoption of positive relationship maintenance behaviors. I created an online visualization application that uses information gathered from individuals that relates to their interaction history with those in their social network through email clients and along with the Relational Models Theory [1], used this to determine and present a health value for of the individual relationships that a person has with those in the network, in order to observe the effects that it will have on their future decision making behavior patterns. A study was conducted to evaluate the amount of positive maintenance behaviors that are adopted when participants were shown an abstract visual representation, or no visual representation. Final analysis showed a lack of overall significant difference in post study values derived for health, across study groups, but more granular inspection of health value changes within individual participant networks yielded evidence of increases in greater amounts within the treatment group versus the control group, and for low value relationships for both groups. Additionally, evidence of decreases in loneliness for low reporting individuals and email exchange ratios that are quantitatively descriptive of Fiske's relational model's theory were found.

AdviserBruce Gooch
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsComputer science
Publication Number3386450

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